Sheena Falconer has been named interim president of the McLean Mill Society. NEWS FILE PHOTO

McLean Mill Society president quits

Bill Collette, bookkeeper both leave society that looks after Port Alberni heritage site

Two members of the McLean Mill Society, including its president, have resigned.

Following a MMS board meeting on Wednesday, July 25, president Bill Collette chose to resign from his role as president of the MMS in order to focus more on his work at the Chamber of Commerce.

“My decision was based on the fact that my job at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is my absolute priority,” he said in a statement to the News. “In the interests of the chamber of commerce I made the decision to focus my efforts entirely on my employment—not my volunteer position with the MMS.”

The MMS was formed in 2016 to oversee direction of the city-owned McLean Mill Historic Park. Collette has been president since the society’s inception.

Bookkeeper Susan Roth also tendered her resignation for the McLean Mill Society on Sunday, July 8 after requesting an audit for the McLean Mill books, stating that there are “lots of ongoing problems that weren’t being resolved.

“Nothing illegal, but certainly unethical,” she said in a statement to the News on Monday.

The board agreed to retain Rob Anderson of R. Anderson and Associates as bookkeeper for the remainder of 2018—a solution offered by the City of Port Alberni. An audit is scheduled for 2019, MMS interim president Sheena Falconer said.

Collette, who is also the chamber’s executive director, said that Roth also resigned from her position with the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce on the same day. “Her resignation pointed to a level of dissatisfaction with management—basically myself—at the Chamber of Commerce.”

This dissatisfaction, he added, was related to an employer/employee matter between Collette and his administrative assistant. This administrative assistant is now away “for an extended period of time,” said Collette.

Collette added in his statement that the McLean Mill Society is “doing very well” and thanked Roth for her work.

“I enjoyed working with her and will miss her talents,” he said.

Following the board meeting last Wednesday, former vice president Falconer was assigned as interim president of the McLean Mill Society, while Mel Francoeur will take over as interim vice president.

The News reached out to executive director Deanna Beaudoin for comment, and was referred to Falconer. Falconer said she doesn’t think the mill’s operations will be affected by these changes.

“We’ve got everything pretty well under control,” she said. “Everybody’s stepping up and helping out, even if it means they’re doing slightly different roles. The directors are pretty confident that we can carry the mill this year.

“Then we’ll sit down and think about it in the fall,” she added with a laugh.

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